Washington, DC-As the nation's leaders hunker down in a push to pass health care reform before the year's end, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today urged members of Congress to remember the importance of health care reform for everyone in America, including Latinos. This afternoon, NCLR staff members hand-delivered thousands of postcards wrapped as holiday gifts to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The postcards are part of a national campaign effort to ensure that the voices of communities of color are taken seriously as Congress votes on one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the country's history.
Today's delivery is the culmination of the health care reform postcard campaign that also handed over thousands of postcards to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office in October. Many who signed the postcards also shared their personal stories with NCLR about the struggles they have gaining access to affordable health insurance.
"I am currently unemployed and suffer from epilepsy. I am receiving unemployment compensation, but apparently too much to qualify for [public coverage programs]," wrote Omar, from Santa Rosa, CA. "My epilepsy requires me to take medication that, without insurance, costs me nearly $300 a month. Currently I also have an injured ankle with possible hairline fractures, but I cannot afford to get medical care...Now, having been unemployed for over six months, I worry that getting insured again will be difficult as my epilepsy may be considered a preexisting condition."
Omar cannot afford to pay out of pocket for epilepsy medication for much longer, but he also cannot afford to let his condition go untreated. Like millions of Americans, Omar is unemployed due to the economic recession and struggles to pay for prescription medication that he needs.
In conjunction with the postcards, NCLR staff also delivered giant holiday cards to congressional leadership with signatures from many who signed the postcards. For more information on NCLR's national health care reform postcard campaign, visit www.nclr.org/HealthCareStories.
"Nearly 15 million Latinos are suffering due to lack of affordable insurance and care," said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. "By mobilizing communities to action and making our voice heard through this holiday delivery, NCLR hopes that Congress will give the gift of equitable and affordable health care to all in America."
NCLR's campaign will continue until Congress passes health care reform that works for all American families. NCLR urges Congress to modify legislation to provide guaranteed affordable health care that removes barriers to public health coverage for legal immigrants, addresses health care inequality, and eliminates excessive verification proposals and restrictions that could end up hurting eligible U.S. citizens the most.
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